REAL Success – R is For Retention


If you want to increase customer retention in your dealership, focus on communicating with them to form a connection. BY BRENDA STANG

Customers don’t care about you until they feel that you care about them. As harsh as this may sound, once you understand this, you will be well on your way to appreciating that connecting with people is the major determining factor in retaining your customers. Retention goes above and beyond the sale of a vehicle or the providing of service and parts. It’s not enough just to work hard. It’s not enough to do a great job. To be successful, you need to learn how to really communicate with others.

But it goes further than just communicating. The end goal is to connect, to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them. When you connect with others, you position yourself to make the most of your skills and talents. Your ability to connect will inspire loyalty.

Three practical ways to connect with others is through finding common ground, keeping your communication simple and creating an experience.

Finding Common Ground

You are providing a product or service and you know that the customer has a need for it. Find the area where you can connect your product with your customer’s needs. What most people really want is to be listened to, respected and understood.

Begin with asking questions to identify common interests and experiences. Listen to understand your customer’s interests and point of view. Learn how they think, what they feel, how they’re likely to act and react in a given situation. By becoming a good listener you will earn the opportunity to help them.

Always bring something of value to the conversation and at the close of a conversation, ask if there is anything you can do to help them – and then follow through. Your actions live longer than your words.

When your customer feels understood you can tell your stories, share emotions and offer lessons learned from those experiences. Make sure you are sharing stories and experiences that connect with their interests. Always make the conversation about them.

Keeping Your Communication Simple

Talk to people – not above them. That’s not easy to do. Our industry is full of jargon and often it is too easy to fall back onto technical terms. Always be looking to explain what your product or service does and what it means to them in the simplest terms. The biggest compliment you can get is that your customer understood everything and it made sense.

Get to the point. Winston Churchill once said about a colleague, “He is one of those orators who, before he gets up, does not know what he is going to say; when he is speaking, does not know what he is saying; and when he has sat down, doesn’t know what he has said.” When you are talking with your customers ask yourself two questions: “What do I want them to know?” and “What do I want them to do?” You are much more likely to stay on track and get to the point.

Say it clearly. Most people are persuaded by what they understand. When you speak clearly and simply, people can understand more of what you are trying to communicate.

Create an Experience

A connection is created by honest communication that benefits both parties and is enjoyable. In order to get your message across you have to learn how to communicate in someone else’s world. Taking this one step further, consider how your contact with customers can be taken to the next level. People are looking for and value meaningful and positive experiences in their daily interactions. (See ways to create an experience)

Ultimately, we are all in the people business. Every point of communication with a customer will either build on strengthening our connections or will chip away at the relationship.

Whenever you can help other people to understand that you genuinely care about them, you open the door to connections, communication and interaction. You begin to create a relationship. And from that moment on, you have the potential to create something beneficial for both you and them, because good relationships usually lead to good things: higher loyalty, greater retention and increased profits.